Hours after accusing India of masterminding the the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said that his country is not trying to provoke India by suggesting its agents were linked to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader but Ottawa wants New Delhi to address the issue properly, Reuters reported.
"The government of India needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness. We are doing that, we are not looking to provoke or escalate," Trudeau told reporters.
Earlier on Tuesday, PM Trudeau accused the Indian government of being involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar. In response to this incident, the Canadian government expelled Indian Diplomat Pavan Kumar Rai.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Canadian citizen in question, was fatally shot in June of this year. Nijjar had been an outspoken supporter of the separatist ideology of Khalistan, which advocates for the secession of the state of Punjab from India.
"Over the past number of weeks, Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen - Hardeep Singh Nijjar," said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the House of Commons.
Canada's Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said that Canada will "not tolerate any form of foreign interference" and that she had communicated it to her Indian counterpart.
India rejects Trudeau's allegations
"India rejects allegations by Canada," the MEA statement read. "We have seen and reject the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister. Allegations of Government of India's involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated. We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law," the statement read.
India expels Canadian Diplomat
Hours after PM Trudeau's allegation and expulsion of Indian officer stationed in Canada, India summoned the Canadian High Commissioner to India, Cameron MacKay to the MEA headquarters to inform him about India's tit-for-tat decision to expel a Canadian diplomat on Tuesday (September 19). The diplomat has been identified as Canadian Intelligence Officer Olivier Sylvester.
The MEA in a statement said, "The High Commissioner of Canada to India was summoned today and informed about the decision of the Government of India to expel a senior Canadian diplomat based in India. The concerned diplomat has been asked to leave India within the next five days. The decision reflects Government of India’s growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities."